Cell Site Analysis and Identification Testimony (Part 2)

by | Nov 28, 2023 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

The New Jersey Supreme court majority continued in relevant part: On December 26, Rosette Martinez misidentified a filler photo in a photo array with 90 percent certainty. She declined to make an identification during a second photo array, which included a photo of defendant, on December 28. The day after the robbery, Martinez noticed that among the bags in the stairway to her apartment, there was a Costco bag she did not recognize. That bag was later found to have defendant’s DNA on it. On December 29, police visited defendant. While questioning him, a detective sent a text message to defendant’s phone, which gave an audible voice announcement of a “text message received” from the detective’s phone number and read the message out loud. The detective then obtained a warrant and arrested defendant. Police collected his clothing, which matched the victims’ description. Defendant’s cell phone records showed that he received a text message while the robbery was in progress. Additionally, defendant’s phone included several blurry, dark pictures taken at 8:03 p.m. on December 25.

Police also found several photographs of a “Princess” brand watch on defendant’s cell phone captured in the days after the robbery, and four web searches for “Princess” watches. On January 21, 2016, Martinez returned to the police station. A detective told her that defendant had been arrested for the robbery and that police seized his cell phone, which contained pictures of jewelry and a watch. The detective showed her one of the pictures of the watch, and she identified it as hers. She later provided the box for the watch, containing additional watch bands, to prove the watch was hers. Defendant was indicted on several counts.

Ideally, the police would have shown Martinez the watch and asked non-leading questions about whether it had any significance. Instead, the police likely led her because she had already misidentified someone with 90% certainty.